Code in text

In ordinary text sentences (as opposed to, say, code samples), use code font to mark up most things that have anything to do with code. Code font helps to clarify for your reader which text refers to an entity in these ways:

  • Signals to your reader that the text is meant to be entered verbatim.
  • Shows where the boundaries of the text to enter are.
  • Clearly separates the entity from surrounding text.

To mark text as code font, use the following:

  • In HTML, use the code element.
  • In Markdown, use backticks (`).

For information about choosing HTML or Markdown, see Markdown versus HTML.

This page explains how to format code in ordinary text sentences. For more information about formatting and explaining placeholders, command-line syntax, and code samples, see the following resources:

Some specific items to put in code font

The following table includes items that should be in code font, but it's not an exhaustive list:

Item Recommended
Attribute names and values The imageURL attribute contains the path for the image file that you can open in a browser—for example,
Class names The SnapshotDiskOperator class includes the generate_snapshot_name method.
Command output

The output is similar to the following:

        Found sysprep-specialize-script-ps1 in metadata.
        Finished running specialize scripts.
Command-line utility names, such as gcloud, gsutil, kubectl, and bq You can use the kubectl tool to define a network policy.
Data types Nested data is represented as a STRUCT type.
Database elements (such as row and column names) The query extracts the month, julianday, and dayofweek values from the datetime and timestamp columns.
Defined (constant) values for an element or attribute The constant city has the value "San Francisco".
DNS record types Create a DNS AAAA record in your public DNS zone that points to the IP address of the load balancer.
Element names (HTML and XML)

The script and df-messenger HTML elements should be in the body element of your page.

A C-CDA document contains a header and a body enclosed within a ClinicalDocument XML element.

When you refer to an element name, don't put angle brackets (<>) around the element name.

Enum (enumerator) names Generated from the protobuf enum BOOL = 1;.
Environment variable names Set the CHROME_REMOTE_DESKTOP_DEFAULT_DESKTOP_SIZES environment variable to include the resolution of your monitor.
Filenames, filename extensions (if used), and paths Open the pg_hba.conf file, which is typically in the /etc/postgresql/13/main directory.
Folders and directories The configuration information for the reader deployment is in the opentsdb-read.yaml.tpl file in the deployments folder of the guide repository.
HTTP content-type values The value of the Content-Type header value is required and must be set to application/fhir+json as defined in the FHIR specification.
HTTP status codes The HTTP 500 Internal Server Error status code indicates that the server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request.

HTTP verbs To specify image content directly using a local image file, you can use a POST request.
IAM role names

Grant the new service account the roles/cloudfunctions.invoker IAM role for the trace function.

Language keywords The SQL statement contains the dataset table name after the FROM keyword in the format of PROJECT_NAME.DATASET.TABLE_NAME.
Method and function names

The ST_GEOPOINT function uses the longitude and latitude of the Colosseum in Rome.

To fetch the status of the job, call the get_job_status method.

Namespace aliases Use Config Sync to apply the package only to the default namespace.
Placeholder variables Replace SUBNETWORK_NAME with the resource ID of the private subnet that you want the blueprint to use.
Query parameter names and values If you want to return all contents under a directory, use the recursive=true query parameter with your request.

Strings (such as URLs or domain names) that are used in commands and code

In IAM, a condition can specify a page that only Human Resources admins can access—for example,

The logID field includes the domain

Text input In the Key name field, enter config-management.
UI elements that are rendered based on previously entered text (such as a server or instance name)

From the Server name list, select my-sql-cluster1.

Click my-instance.

If a code-formatted element appears in UI, add bold as well. For more information, see Code in UI elements.

Generally, don't put quotation marks around code unless the quotation marks are part of the code.

Items to put in ordinary (non-code) font

The following table includes items that should not be in code font, but it's not an exhaustive list. If you're referring to any of these items as computer input or output, or as a code entity like an attribute or value, then use code font.

Item Recommended
Domain names The test environment is designed only for standard application offerings from
Names of products, services, and organizations Example Organization has current and former employees who use Google products such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.
URLs that the reader is supposed to follow in a browser

You can find support at

It's usually best to format a URL as a link and use descriptive link text instead of exposing the URL itself. For more information, see Link text.

Code in UI elements

If a UI element meets the requirements for code font, then use both code font and bold for that element.

Recommended: In the Network list, select my-net-2.

Recommended: In the Query results pane, the Store column is displayed.

Items that are sometimes in code font

The following list includes items that are sometimes in code font, but it's not an exhaustive list.

  • Boolean values. If you refer directly to a Boolean data type value (such as true or false, or 1 or 0), then format the value as code. If you refer to the evaluation of a Boolean condition as true or false, then refer to the evaluation in non-code font.


    • If the update succeeds, returns true.
    • enableCertificateValidation: If true, validates the SSL certificate before proceeding. If false, trusts the certificate without validating it.
  • Command-line utility names. Often, command-line utility names are spelled the same as the software project or product with which they are associated, with only differences in capitalization. In such cases, use code font for the command and ordinary font for the name of the project or product.


    • Invoke the GCC 8.3 compiler using gcc for C programs or g++ for C++ programs.
    • To send the file over FTP with IPv6, use ftp -6.
    • The options for the curl command are explained on the curl project website.
    • The apt program includes commands from the apt-get and apt-cache programs for working with APT packages.
  • Email addresses as input or output. If you want the reader to use the email address as computer input or output, use code font. If you want the reader to treat the email address as a way to contact someone or a reference to someone, use non-code font and hyperlink the email address.


    • Enter the username, not the full email address. For example, enter alex, not
    • For help, contact

Method names

When you refer to a method name in text, omit the class name except where including it would prevent ambiguity.

Recommended: To retrieve the zebra's metadata, call its get() method.

Not recommended: To retrieve the zebra's metadata, call its animal.get() method.

Put an empty pair of parentheses after a method name to indicate that it's a method.

HTTP status codes

To refer to a single status code, use the following formatting and phrasing:

an HTTP 400 Bad Request status code

In particular, call it a status code instead of a response code or error code, and put the number and the name in code font. If the HTTP is implicit from context, you can leave it out.

To refer to a range of codes, use the following form:

an HTTP 2xx or 400 status code

In particular, use Nxx (with a specific digit in place of N) to indicate anything in the N00-N99 range, and put the status code number in code font even if you're leaving out the code's name.

If you prefer to specify an exact range, you can do so:

an HTTP status code in the 200-299 range

Here, too, put the numbers in code font.

Grammatical treatment of code elements

In general, don't use code elements such as keywords and filenames as if they were English verbs or nouns. Don't inflect the name of a code element, such as to make it plural or possessive. Instead, include a noun after the name of the code element, and inflect that noun.

Recommended Not recommended
The ADDRESS constant's value is defined in the settings.h file. ADDRESS's value is defined in settings.h.
To add the data, send a POST request. POST the data.
To retrieve the data, send a GET request. Retrieve information by GETting the data.

You can't close the file before opening it.

You can't call the close() method for a file before you call open().

Close()ing the file requires you to have open()ed it first.

Takes an array of extended ASCII code points (an array of INT64 values) and returns BYTES values.

For STRING arguments, returns the original string with all alphabetic characters in uppercase.

Takes an array of extended ASCII code points (ARRAY of INT64) and returns BYTES.

Linking API terms in Android

When you're writing code comments that you'll turn into generated reference documentation, link to the first instance of each element of Android APIs, such as classes, methods, constants, and XML attributes. Use code font and regular HTML a elements to link to this reference material. For later uses of the same API element in the same section, use code font but do not link to the reference documentation.

Link AndroidManifest.xml elements and attributes to the API guide pages. Link the attribute for a particular widget or layout to its Javadoc in the widget or layout's API reference entry.


<a href="/guide/topics/manifest/data-element.html">data</a>

Very common classes such as Activity and Intent don't need to be linked every time. If you use a term as a concept rather than a class, then don't put it in code font and don't capitalize it. Here are some objects that do not always require Javadoc links or capitalization:

  • activity, activities
  • service
  • fragment
  • view
  • loader
  • action bar
  • intent
  • content provider
  • broadcast receiver
  • app widget

If you use one of these terms in the context of referring to an actual instance, use the formal class name and link to its reference page. Here are two examples:

Recommended: The Activity class is an important part of an application's overall lifecycle...

Recommended: The user interface for an activity is provided by a hierarchy of views—objects derived from the View class.

To link to a class or method:

  • To link to a class, use the class name as link text—for example:

    <a href="/reference/android/widget/TextView">TextView</a>
  • To link to a method, use the method name as a fragment identifier. If you're linking to a static method, also include the class name in the link text. If you need to distinguish between overloaded versions of a particular method, consider showing the full signature—for example:

    <a href="/reference/android/app/Activity.html#onCreate(android.os.Bundle)">onCreate(Bundle)</a>
  • To link the attribute for a particular widget or layout to its Javadoc in the widget or layout's API reference entry, use the URL for the page, and then add the fragment identifier #attr_android:ATTRIBUTE_NAME. For example, to link to the XML attribute android:inputType for the TextView widget, add the following:

    <a href="/reference/android/widget/TextView.html#attr_android:inputType>inputType</a>